Remember Britney Spears’ hit song “… Baby One More Time”? Of course you do! It’s almost as famous today as it was back in the ’90s. The tune is an amazingly catchy bit of bubblegum pop that most of us can’t help but sing along to. But the lyrics have raised more than a few questions and eyebrows over the years. So what does the song actually mean? Well, there’s a remarkable story behind that.
It hit us at just the right time
When “… Baby One More Time” hit the airwaves in 1998, it was like nothing else around. At the time, Aerosmith, The Goo Goo Dolls, and the Spice Girls were the ones to beat.
So there arguably wasn’t much music out there that appealed to the typical tween and teenage girl. You know, the kind of music made by teens, for teens. But Spears was different, and she was about to change the game.
She changed MTV for good
Then, of course, there was that video. You know, the one with 16-year-old Spears dancing about in a school corridor? It genuinely took the world by storm! However, not everybody was happy about it.
Music expert John Seabrook told Entertainment Weekly in 2018, “MTV had, up to that point, tried to resist mainstream pop, because they wanted to be perceived as cool… But I think with Britney, and the video in particular… it really changed MTV.”
It was an instant phenomenon
No matter what MTV’s idea of “cool” may have been before, Spears and “… Baby One More Time” redefined it. The song reached number one in multiple countries across the globe, fueled by rabid fandom and not a little controversy.
The single sold 500,000 copies on its very first day of release in the U.S. And, of course, that’s the kind of success that can change a life in many different ways.
The famous cover of Rolling Stone
For its retrospective on “… Baby One More Time,” Entertainment Weekly spoke to John Ivey, president of CHR programming for iHeartMedia. He remembered, “Britney had the second level. People saw this video and thought, what is this girl? Because everybody latched onto this immediately,” he continued.
“It wasn’t very long after that, she was on Rolling Stone.” See? Game. Changed. And if the single was seen as racy before, Spears’ Rolling Stone cover tipped it over the edge.